Instructor Qualifications

Both, the Higher Learning Commission's (HLC) Criteria for Accreditation and Assumed Practices address requirements regarding policies and procedures that all member institutions must have in order to achieve and maintain HLC accreditation. One of these requirement is in regard to the qualifications of Kent State faculty. HLC states that an institution must establish and maintain reasonable policies and procedures for determining that faculty are qualified; and that an institution could consider a variety of factors as part of these policies and procedures.

HLC Criteria 3.C. 1-3

3.C. The institution has the faculty and staff needed for effective, high-quality programs and student services.

  1. The institution strives to ensure that the overall composition of its faculty and staff reflects human diversity as appropriate within its mission and for the constituencies it serves.
  2. The institution has sufficient numbers and continuity of faculty members to carry out both the classroom and the non-classroom roles of faculty, including oversight of the curriculum and expectations for student performance, assessment of student learning, and establishment of academic credentials for instructional staff.
  3. All instructors are appropriately qualified, including those in dual credit, contractual and consortial offerings.
HLC Assumed Practice B.2

Assumed Practice B. Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources and Support

B.2. Faculty Roles and Qualifications

The institution establishes and maintains reasonable policies and procedures to determine that faculty are qualified. The factors that an institution considers as part of these policies and procedures could include, but are not limited to: the achievement of academic credentials, progress toward academic credentials, equivalent experience, or some combination thereof. The institution’s obligations in this regard extend to all instructors and all other entities to which it assigns the responsibility of instruction. HLC will maintain “Institutional Policies and Procedures for Determining Faculty Qualifications Guidelines” to further explain requirements for reasonable policies and procedures in accordance with this Assumed Practice.

Kent State university policy 3-02 was updated to maintain academic credential requirements of all instructors teaching classes. 

Visual presentation of policy 3-02 minimum instructor credentials

Also, in this policy, a procedure was outlined for the uncommon cases when an academic unit saw fit to hire an instructor that did not meet the minimum degree requirements but was qualified through equivalent but, alternative credentials, known as Tested Experience.  

Requirements for Documenting Instructor Qualifications

Per university policy 3-02, academic units are responsible for verifying and maintaining a system to document appropriate or tested instructional qualifications for all faculty. In the case of an academic unit's desire to hire an instructor that does not qualify through academic credentials, the academic unit must have a Tested Experience approval process in place and a way to share this information with the office of Accreditation, Assessment and Learning.

A typical process will follow the steps listed below while also maintaining alignment with all applicable unit handbooks.  

  1. The academic unit in conjunction with the appropriate faculty committee (e.g. FAC, CAC) will need to...
    • establish and document an approval process appropriate to the structure of the academic unit (see example questions to consider when establishing a process)
    • establish and document what would be considered appropriate alternative credentials for the field of study that could be utilized for cases of Tested Experience (see an example rubric that can be adjusted) OR decide that the unit will never use Tested Experience
  2. Submit an outline of the approval process and upload a blank copy of the documentation materials using the Instructor Qualifications - Unit Evaluation Summary online form (this upload is only required one time or whenever there are updates to the process or documentation materials)
  3. Complete an audit of ALL current Full-Time and Part-Time (including CCP instructors) instructor credentials (example instructor credentials form)
  4. Each time that your academic unit utilizes the Tested Experience process, email a copy of the individual's CV and the signed copy of the completed Tested Experience documentation (e.g. rubric) to AAL Accreditation - Tested Experience


For additional questions or guidance, contact AAL Accreditation